Rick Owens

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Rick Owens
Rick Owens
Owens in September 2018
Richard Saturnino Owens

(1962-11-18) November 18, 1962 (age 59)
  • Rick Owens
  • Rick Owens Lilies
  • Slab
  • Rick Owens Hun/HUNRICKOWENS
(m. 2006)

Richard Saturnino Owens (born November 18, 1962) is a Paris-based American fashion designer from Porterville, California. In addition to his main line, Owens has a furniture line and a number of diffusion lines.

Early life and education[edit]

Rick Owens was raised in Porterville, California. His parents are John (d. 2015)[2] and Concepción "Connie" Owens. Connie is Mexican.[3][4] Owens was raised in a conservative, Catholic household.[5] After graduating high school, he moved to Los Angeles to study art at Otis College of Art and Design, in Los Angeles, for two years before taking pattern-making and draping courses at Los Angeles Trade-Technical College. This led to work in the garment industry, designing copies of designer clothing.[6]


Owens launched his fashion line in 1994, operating out of a store in Hollywood Boulevard. He moved to Paris in 2003 with his companion Michèle Lamy, whom he married in 2006, and set up his home and atelier inside a historic five-story building that previously served as offices for former French President François Mitterrand.[7] His runway collections have been mounted in Paris since then. In 2004, Owens and Michèle Lamy established their own fashion company Owenscorp, and described their business partnership as “asking a gypsy to organise a war with a fascist.”[8]

In 2013, Owens exhibited his 'Prehistoric' collection at Carpenters Workshop Gallery in London.[9] Owens' design colour palette in this seven piece collection stretches from white to black, stopping nowhere in between.[10] "The show is entitled 'Prehistoric' – a name that reflects its inspiration, the origins of humanity, it recalls a mysterious ancient civilization. Its aura is one of spiritual ritual, archaic ceremony and supreme power".[11]

A recipient of the 2002 Perry Ellis Award for emerging talent and the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) in 2017,[12][13] Owens was also awarded the Cooper-Hewitt Design Award for fashion design,[14] as well as the Fashion Group International Rule Breaker Award in 2007. His first museum exhibition and retrospective, chronicling over 20 years of his life's work, entitled, "Subhuman Inhuman Superhuman" opened at the Triennale di Milano on December 15, 2017.[15] In June 2019, Owens won Menswear Designer of the Year Award at the 2019 Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) Fashion Awards.[16]

Owens has authored 3 books — L'ai-je bien descendu?,[17] published in 2007, Rick Owens, published in 2011, and Rick Owens Furniture,[18] followed by 2 books about Larry LeGaspi, which was published in November 2019 by publisher Rizzoli.[19]

He had launched five labels including Rick Owens, DRKSHDW, Rick Owens Lilies, Slab (Defunct), and HUNRICKOWENS (previously "Palais Royal").[20] In 2018 and 2019, he has collaborated with Birkenstock and French sneaker brand Veja, respectively. The latter collaboration continued for five seasons, with its conclusion announced in November 2021.[21][22][23][24] Owens added to this series of partnerships in 2020, designing capsules in collaboration with Moncler and American activewear brand Champion.[25][26] In a 2017 interview with WWD, the brand was reported to have brought in $120 million the previous year. Owens noted in the same interview that his label planned to remain independent from corporate investment.[27]

In 2019, Owens dedicated his fashion show to Larry LeGaspi, the man he considers his creative forefather. He introduced Gaspi in his fall and winter 2019 women's runway collection, "For me, as a teenager growing up in Porterville, California, what Larry LeGaspi did was a huge thing—the way he infiltrated middle America with this subversive sensibility [...] [h]e connects with soul culture—black soul culture and music [...] [a]ll of this stuff coming together was very important to this kid in Porterville." And, "I do think of Larry’s as a kind of biblical story... about the glory of lust and vice, something I talk about a lot, but also about dissipation and decline—which I also talk about a lot... When I was 15, I wanted to be dissipated. And now I am, a little bit. But there is also responsibility."[28] In November 2019, Owens returned to Los Angeles for the first time in 16 years to introduce the books.[29]

Brand identity[edit]

The designer has been called as the lord of darkness[30] for his Gothic aesthetics,[31] often using the color black for his designs.

Owens uses high quality fabrics with a mix of plush textures.[32][33][34]

Notable designs[edit]


The “Creatch” cargo pants originated from the Spring/Summer 2008 collection and reappears in almost every subsequent collection in menswear. The design remains the same: a straight leg, drop-crotch pants with an elasticated waist, circular velcro sash, and one cargo pocket on each leg.

Stooges leather jacket[edit]

The Stooges leather jacket was worn by Kate Moss in the French Vogue magazine and gave Owens prominence within the fashion industry. With the help from Anna Wintour and Vogue, Owens produced his first runway show, ‘Sparrows,’ in the Spring/Summer 2002 collection at New York Fashion week, featuring this leather jacket design. The biker jacket is constructed with angular flaps and an asymmetric zipper, made up of washed leather.


Rick Owens first unveiled these sneakers in his Fall/Winter 2006 collection "Dustulator" along with an unreleased "Cut-Out" women-exclusive version of the Dunks, made famous by Russian supermodel Sasha Pivoravova who wore them in a photoshoot. The rarity of these samples has sent existing pairs to astronomical resell prices. These first-edition sneakers were of poor quality, with the upper and sole simply glued together, but the Dunk's final form appeared in the SS06 collection with the Shearling/Nubuck Dunk followed by one which was released for FW06 "Dustulator". All these early models are characterized by metal staples, which visibly bind the sole. These Dunks have a characteristic detail on the shoes' sides, resembling the Nike Swoosh, a reversed rendition of the Puma stripe and Adidas' three stripes as an stitching detail behind the "swoosh" applique. The imitation of Adidas became more evident with the Dunks released for  FW09, "Crust", devoid of the "swoosh" detail but decorated with three side seams similar to the three stripes. According to legend Nike had sent a cease-and-desist to the designer to stop production of the Dunks, which Owens went on to mention in an interview that the letter made him "swoon", although a Grailed article by Asaf Rotman reports that there is no concrete evidence that the letter was ever sent and Nike never said it had. The Dunks remained on sale until at least 2010 in the brand's stores.[35][36]


The Geobasket, a basketball-style sneaker derived from the Dunk silhouette, was introduced in 2010 and features a characteristic angular applique on the medial and lateral sides, as well as a medial zipper for easy access. According to Luca Ruggeri, the commercial director of Rick Owens, the Geobasket has been the best-selling product in the label's menswear lineup since its inception.[37]

Notable Collections[edit]

Rick Owens produces a menswear and womenswear collection each season, both under the same title and based on the same theme and references.


The Plinth Collection was shown in Owens's Fall/Winter 2013 menswear show. The pieces started out with an A-line silhouette, incorporating an oversized military-like sleeve which intended to make the arms more powerful. The jackets were belted high. The look finishes off with large boots which add a level of solidity. The models’ hair were teased in which the designer decided to name the style, “Boy Chantilly.”[38]


Owens's Spring/Summer 2014 womenswear collection, ‘Vicious,’ had a team of step dancers with members of the Zetas, Washington Divas, Soul Steppers and Momentums, walk down the runway. Owens continues to challenge accepted beauty standards, however this time, he does so without traditional models. The girls wore utilitarian garments while stomping and posing with strong and aggressive movements.[39]

Sphinx Collection[edit]

The Sphinx Collection came out in his Fall/Winter 2015 men's show where garments were intentionally draped over to reveal frontal male nudity. Each model was carefully chosen based on his height and proportions so that the fabric would not reveal too much or too little of his number. The clothes had a porthole over the groin of the models, taking inspiration from a submarine setting of an old French movie. The peacoats were cut from Berber blankets, one of which had a couture-like cape back and another which had submarine rust, symbolic of decay. Cable-knit sweaters were stretched down into a full-length piece. The silhouettes were long in the front and high cut in the back.[40]

BABEL S/S 19[edit]

The Spring-Summer 2019 collection makes reference to constructivist architecture, mainly the biblical Tower of Babel and Tatlin's Tower. Owens’ eldritch geometries served to emphasise his affection for Russian Constructivism, which can be seen in the bold stripes, the angular dissections of t-shirts, and the sweeping polyhedron-like capes and coats, which had the sacerdotal quality of Owens at his most optimistic.[41]

Scandal during the Cyclops Spring/Summer 2016 menswear show[edit]

During the Cyclops Spring/Summer 2016 men's show[42] in Paris, male fashion muse,[43][44] artist, and musician Jera Diarc,[45][46] who worked for Owens as model, held up a sign that read, "Please Kill Angela Merkel. Not."[47] This action overshadowed the entire week, gained worldwide attention, and went viral.[48]

There was a lot of speculation regarding whether this was political activism,[49] an art performance,[50] or a simple stunt on Jera's part,[51] or was deliberately staged[52] as part of the show's theme of "protest and male aggression".

Owens distanced himself from it and stressed that he and his company hadn't known anything about it in advance; he also banned Jera from his shows. Owens went on to call Jera his muse in several statements which he gave afterwards.

When Jera was asked about the incident in an interview with the magazine High Snobiety,[53] he was vague and didn't reveal exactly what he had been aiming for with the stunt. He ended the interview with the statement, "Everything for rckNrll. Everything for art. Everything for the cause. And the cause is above everything."[53][54]

Furniture line[edit]

In addition to designing clothes, Owens designs furniture. His furniture was originally custom-designed and tailored for his own use while in Paris. Owens's furniture line is influenced by architectural elements such as Brutalism and German World War II bunkers, characterized by angular movements and sculptural forms. He occasionally incorporates a pair of antlers, mimicking asymmetric wings to a pair of chairs. Owens is now represented by a design gallery called Jousse Entreprise.

His first furniture show in Berlin was made possible by the publisher, Angelika Taschen [de]. Taschen has known Owens and his wife since they lived in Los Angeles. Taschen included his Parisian living space in her book, New Paris Interiors. She was taken away by Owens's eye for furniture design and wanted his work to be showcased in her hometown, Berlin. The Berlin Gallery Weekend 2010 took place from April 30 to May 2 in which 40 galleries mounted new exhibitions. Presented by Taschen, Owens's show, ‘To Pop A Boner,’ was on display at the famous Apartment store.[55]

In July 2005, Owens introduced a furniture collection. Using raw plywood, marble, alabaster, bronze, leather, and moose antlers, the collection is inspired by his favorite shapes from Eileen Gray to Brâncuși to California skate parks. The furniture collection has since been shown at the Musée d'Art modern in Paris and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.[56] Owens credits his wife, Michèle Lamy, as the creative force behind his furniture show. The exhibit showcases new works as well as classic pieces, in which some were envisioned for this newest store located in Soho, New York. The couple has worked together throughout the design process for his furniture line. Owens comes up with the drawings in which Lamy then creates the preliminary models for. Before his wife hires artisans to create the final pieces, the two carve, re-proportion, and make any adjustments beforehand. Owens leaves the installation process in Lamy's hands, who writes the summaries for the pieces as well.[57]


  1. ^ Socha, Miles (November 11, 2013). "Rick Owens: Breaking the Rules". WWD. Retrieved November 12, 2013.
  2. ^ Fury, Alexander (March 2, 2017). "The Lighter Side of Rick Owens". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved March 2, 2020.
  3. ^ Colapinto, John. "Elegant Monsters". The New Yorker. Retrieved March 2, 2020.
  4. ^ "Rick Owens: The prince of dark design". The Independent. March 26, 2011. Retrieved March 2, 2020.
  5. ^ "Rick Owens Divulges His Deepest Thoughts on Masculinity and Its Place in Fashion". HYPEBEAST. Retrieved March 2, 2020.
  6. ^ Rick Owens fashion latimesmagazine.com 2008/09
  7. ^ Yaeger, Lynn. "American Gothic". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved April 25, 2013.
  8. ^ Wallace, Christopher (April 30, 2014). "Constructing Rick Owens' Creative Bubble". Business Of Fashion. Retrieved August 18, 2019.
  9. ^ Davis, Thomas. "Rick Owens' Prehistoric Furniture Exhibition". HERO Magazine. Retrieved September 12, 2013.
  10. ^ Compton, Nick. "Rick Owens' 'Prehistoric' new furniture collection". Wallpaper. Retrieved September 6, 2013.
  11. ^ Thompson, Henrietta. "Renaissance man: Rick Owens". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on October 14, 2013. Retrieved October 10, 2013.
  12. ^ "CFDA FASHION AWARDS" (Press release). CFDA. Retrieved August 15, 2019.
  13. ^ Steff, Yotka. "No tricks, just rick! a candid chat with Rick Owens on the eve of his cfda lifetime achievement award". Vogue. Retrieved May 30, 2017.
  14. ^ "Biography". Bof.
  15. ^ Judah, Hettie. "What's in a Rick Owens Retrospective? Whatever He Wants". New York Times. Retrieved December 15, 2017.
  16. ^ Layla Ilchi (June 3, 2019). "Rick Owens Wins Menswear Designer of the Year Award at CFDA Fashion Awards 2019". WWD. Retrieved August 15, 2019.
  17. ^ "L'ai-je bien descendu?". W KOREA. Retrieved June 1, 2008.
  18. ^ Marcy Medina. "Rick Owens on furniture, fashion and 'fairy witch' Michele Lamy". WWD. Retrieved December 13, 2016.
  19. ^ Trebay, Guy (January 18, 2019). "Rick Owens Offers Respect". New York Times.
  20. ^ Woodward, Daisy (January 19, 2017). "Your ultimate guide to Rick Owens". Dazed Digital. Retrieved August 18, 2019.
  21. ^ Adam Tschorn (April 5, 2018). "Q&A: Rick Owens on collaborating with Birkenstock, Joseph Beuys and why he's taking his label with him when he goes". Los Angeles Times.
  22. ^ "Rick Owens teams with eco brand Veja on sneaker design". Yahoo SG. Retrieved September 25, 2019.
  23. ^ Communier, Adrien. "Rick Owens drops collaboration with French sneaker brand Veja". Fashion Network. Retrieved September 25, 2019.
  24. ^ Campuzano, Luis; Campuzano, Luis (November 4, 2021). "Veja Releases Final Collab With Rick Owens". WWD. Retrieved November 20, 2021.
  25. ^ Zargani, Luisa; Zargani, Luisa (February 18, 2020). "Moncler, Rick Owens Collaboration Not What You Would Expect". WWD. Retrieved November 20, 2021.
  26. ^ "Rick Owens' Sports-Indebted Champion Capsule Has Just Dropped". HYPEBEAST. February 6, 2020. Retrieved November 20, 2021.
  27. ^ "WWD — RICK OWENS ON LEGACY, THE MET BALL AND THE ENDURING APPEAL OF KISS — JUNE 5 2017 — BY JOELLE DIDERICH". www.rickowens.eu. Retrieved November 20, 2021.
  28. ^ Luke Leitch (January 17, 2019). "FALL 2019 MENSWEAR Rick Owens". Vogue. Retrieved April 1, 2019.
  29. ^ Moore, Booth (November 5, 2019). "Rick Owens Returning to L.A. for First Time in 16 Years". WWD.
  30. ^ Madsen, Anders Christian (October 19, 2016). "brave new world: rick owens and the new era of his brand". i-D. Retrieved August 6, 2021.
  31. ^ "The Rick Owens Aesthetic Vocabulary". www.polimoda.com. December 18, 2019. Retrieved August 6, 2021.
  32. ^ 15482023. "Capstone: Rick Owens Re-Branding". Issuu. Retrieved August 6, 2021.CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  33. ^ "Rick Owens is part of the BoF 500". The Business of Fashion. Retrieved August 6, 2021.
  34. ^ "Behind The Cult Following of Rick Owens". The Psychology of Fashion. Retrieved August 6, 2021.
  35. ^ "5 things to know about Rick Owens' relationship with sneakers". nss magazine. Retrieved October 17, 2021.
  36. ^ History of Rick Owens Sneakers, retrieved October 17, 2021
  37. ^ Rabkin, Eugene (October 26, 2015). "Unlimited Edition". StyleZeitgeist. Retrieved October 17, 2021.
  38. ^ "Rick Owens Fall 2013 Menswear Fashion Show". Vogue. Retrieved April 28, 2020.
  39. ^ "Rick Owens Spring 2014 Ready-to-Wear Fashion Show". Vogue. Retrieved April 28, 2020.
  40. ^ Bancroft, Alison (June 1, 2016). "Masculinity, masquerade and display: Some thoughts on Rick Owens's Sphinx collection and men in fashion". Critical Studies in Fashion & Beauty. 7 (1): 19–29. doi:10.1386/csfb.7.1.19_1. ISSN 2040-4417.
  41. ^ "Confusion and Control at Rick Owens". The Business of Fashion. June 22, 2018. Retrieved October 17, 2021.
  42. ^ "Rick Owens Fashion Show Is Overshadowed by a Model's Message (Published 2015)". Retrieved February 15, 2021.
  43. ^ "The Most Famous Fashion Muses". Highsnobiety. November 30, 2015. Retrieved February 21, 2021.
  44. ^ Osterman, Giovanna (October 8, 2019). "Rick Owens Muses Throughout History". CR Fashion Book. Retrieved February 21, 2021.
  45. ^ ""We are the New Posh" – A chat in London with fashion muse and scandal model Jera Diarc". Retrieved February 15, 2021.
  46. ^ "Jera Diarc: We Interviewed Rick Owen's Muse After His Arrest". Highsnobiety. March 2, 2017. Retrieved February 15, 2021.
  47. ^ "A Male Model Unfurled 'Kill Angela Merkel' Sign". The Cut. Retrieved February 21, 2021.
  48. ^ Teeman, Tim (June 25, 2015). "Zoolander Is Real: How Rick Owens Outdid His Penis Scandal". The Daily Beast. Retrieved February 15, 2021.
  49. ^ "Male model causes outrage with political protest". Retrieved February 15, 2021.
  50. ^ "Ein Herz für Merkel | Monopol". www.monopol-magazin.de (in German). Retrieved February 15, 2021.
  51. ^ Salter, i-D. Staff,Steve (June 26, 2015). "why rick owens' male muse went rogue". i-D. Retrieved February 21, 2021.
  52. ^ SPIEGEL, DER. "Model zeigt "Bitte tötet Angela Merkel nicht"-Plakat". www.spiegel.de (in German). Retrieved February 21, 2021.
  53. ^ a b "An Interview With Rick Owens' Former Muse Jera Diarc". Highsnobiety. January 20, 2016. Retrieved February 16, 2021.
  54. ^ "Read the LOVE STORY between Rick Owens and his muse & model Jera Diarc". serie ||| NOIRE. Retrieved February 15, 2021.
  55. ^ "Rick Owens furniture show, Berlin". Wallpaper*. April 23, 2010. Retrieved April 28, 2020.
  56. ^ "Rick Owens: Furniture". www.moca.org. Retrieved March 22, 2020.
  57. ^ "WWD — RICK OWENS ON FURNITURE, FASHION AND 'FAIRY WITCH' MICHELE LAMY — DECEMBER 13 2016 — BY MARCY MEDINA". www.rickowens.eu. Retrieved March 22, 2020.

External links[edit]